Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vinyl Journal Cover Tutorial (Finally!)

Sorry it's taken so long! Anyway, let's get started! My mom bought me one of these really cool 10 year journals just in time to start it January 1st of this year. I'm really enjoying writing in it. But I am enjoying it even more since I made a pretty cover for it.
I mean, no, it's not so bad, but to look at that forest green with "Journal 10+" for the next TEN YEARS? I thought it would be worth my time to make it pretty. And it was. So the pictures in my tutorial are for this journal, but you could easily make this book cover for a variety of other books*. It's so easy!

First, I knew I wanted to decorate the cover with a little something, so I went in search of a birdie template. I finally settled on using this one from Cathie Filian. (Thanks Cathie!) So first, find your decoration and print it out on regular copy paper.

Next, using a pair of paper cutting scissors (i.e. not your sewing scissors) not-so-carefully cut around your little birdie on its branch, tape it onto your white vinyl with regular scotch tape...

...and--using your sewing scissors this time--very carefully cut out birdie and branch. (Sorry if this picture is a little confusing. The light blue birdie cut-out up top is just the paper template. I only cut out one white vinyl bird.)

Now it's time to measure. I'll admit that it's been a couple of weeks since I made this and my memory is starting to fail me, but I think I measured how tall my journal was and then added an inch for "seam allowance." (I put that in quotations because you don't really have any inside seams on this project, but you do need some extra vinyl on the outside edge, especially if you're going to trim it with pinking shears at the end like I did.) For the length I measured the front, spine, and back of my journal, then added on several inches on each end for the sleeve that my journal fits into.

So make your measurements and cut out your piece.

Next, fold your cover piece around your book as you want it to be when it's finished. Choose where you're going to put your decoration and tape it in place.

I recommend taping it all over so it doesn't move around while sewing. The tape is in place of using pins since pins would leave permanent damage in vinyl.

Now, very carefully edge stitch around your decoration. I ended up just using the hand wheel on my sewing machine for this since the bird has so many tiny little details that require lots of turning and careful stitches. If you want a total work out for your right arm, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. (No pun intended.)

Once you've finished sewing, DO NOT CUT OFF THE ENDS OF YOUR THREAD. Instead, cut off long ends, thread them through a hand sewing needle, and feed them through to the back of your vinyl. Then carefully tie your thread ends in a knot and cut off excess thread.

Then carefully peal away all of the tape that was holding your decoration on.

The right side of your cover should now look like this.

Now, turn your cover over and lay your book down on your cover piece. On the wrong side of the fabric, mark with a pencil where you want your folds to be.

Remove your book. The wrong side of your fabric should now look like this.

Next, line up your cutting ruler with one of your pencil lines. (This step isn't necessary, but it's easier.)

Keeping your ruler in place, fold the cover flap over, pulling fabric tightly.

Press down firmly on the fold and remove ruler.

With fabric folded over, tape in place. Repeat with opposite flap.

With edges taped, carefully try the cover on your book to make sure it will fit when sewn.

Remove cover from book and sew across top and bottom edges, making sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching lines. (The flap edges will be left raw since vinyl doesn't fray.) Trim thread ends and remove tape pieces. Your cover will now look like this.

Using pinking shears, carefully trim excess fabric along the top and bottom edge, being careful not to cut into your stitching.

Note: this next step is optional. I'm still not really sure if it helped or not. So give it a try if you like, but you'd probably be fine without it.
In order to (try to) flatten your book cover and make the folded edges more crisp, lay your open book cover down on a flat surface and cover with lots of heavy books. Leave overnight.

Now, slip that book cover onto the front of your book...

...and the back of your book...

...and you're good to go!

Enjoy your new book cover! As always, if anyone makes one please leave a link in the comments so we can all see pictures. And if any part of this was confusing please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Happy writing (or reading)!

*Note: This tutorial works best for soft cover books. If you are covering a hard cover book I recommend this vinyl notebook cover tutorial from Patchwork Posse. And I just want to say that this notebook cover tutorial was definitely part of the inspiration for my soft journal cover tutorial. Thanks for sharing Patchwork Posse! And thanks again and again to Rachel at One Pretty Thing for sharing everyone's projects so we can all be inspired by each other!


Kathy Haynie said...

Beautiful! I really like the bird template. And the idea to pull the threads through to the back and tie them off is a dandy one - thank you for teaching me!

Katie Lewis said...

I guess I learned that trick in my college sewing classes if you didn't already know it or else I would have learned it from you. :) Good to know my degree is paying off in some way! Haha. Not to mention we have all those heavy text books around for weighting down the book cover with.

xoxoKrysten said...

Oh my gosh, I love that! Super neat, definitely something I'd love to do!

ali said...

oh my goodness that is so cute!

Bridget said...

That is so cool! I'm such a dork and have to glue stick my vinyl down only to watch it shift as I sew, I never thought of tape. Great tutorial.

zakkalife said...

Great tutorial and lovely bird journal.

Emily said...

soooo cute! Can you make me one? :)